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A False Powder-post Beetle, Xylopsocus capucinus (Fabridius) (Insecta: Coleoptera: Bostrichidae)

R. E. Woodruff, E. J. Gerberg and T. J. Spilman

The Featured Creatures collection provides in-depth profiles of insects, nematodes, arachnids and other organisms relevant to Florida. These profiles are intended for the use of interested laypersons with some knowledge of biology as well as academic audiences.


Xylopsocus capucinus (Fabricius) has previously been intercepted at ports of entry into the U.S. on many occasions in a wide variety of plant materials. However, Fisher (1950) stated that it "has not become established in the United States." On 14 March 1978, specimens were collected from cassava branches at Homestead, Florida, by J. Peña, and subsequent surveys indicate that the species is definitely established as a part of the Florida fauna.


Occurs throughout most of the tropical areas of the world. Lesne (1901:633) listed it from the Indomalayan area to the Madagascaran region with specific locations as follows: Madagascar, Comores, Seychelles, Reunion, Mauritius, Sikkim, Coromandel, Nilghiri, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Nicobar, Sumatra, Java, Sumbawa, Borneo, Celebes, Philippines, Ternate, Batjan, Ceram, Amboine, Kei, Arou, New Guinea, Trobriand, Woodlark, d'Entrecasteaux, Louisiade, New Hebrides, Espiritu-Santo, New Caledonia, Sierra Leone, South America (Guiana and eastern Brazil).

Fisher (1950:141) listed the following records: India, Ceylon, China, Thailand, Indochina, Myanmar, Taiwan, Philippines, nearly all Malaysian and Melanesian Islands, and Madagascar. He listed it as introduced into the eastern and western coasts of Africa, Guiana, Venezuela, Trinidad, and Brazil.

In Florida, it is presently known only from the area around Homestead (Dade County).


Adult: Length 3 to 5.5 mm; width 1.4 to 1.7 mm. Shape cylindrical and similar in general appearance to other common species of the family Bostrichidae found in Florida. Because of this similarity, field identification is impractical, and specimens should be submitted to taxonomists for identification.


Figure 1. Dorsal view of adult Xylopsocus capucinus (Fabricius), a false powder-post beetle.
Figure 1.  Dorsal view of adult Xylopsocus capucinus (Fabricius), a false powder-post beetle.
Credit: Lyle J. Buss, UF/IFAS



Figure 2. Lateral view of adult Xylopsocus capucinus (Fabricius), a false powder-post beetle. Line equals 2mm.
Figure 2.  Lateral view of adult Xylopsocus capucinus (Fabricius), a false powder-post beetle. Line equals 2mm.
Credit: Division of Plant Industry


The body color is black or reddish (particularly the elytra, venter, antennae, and palpi). The apical elytral declivity (sloping) is abruptly, obliquely deflexed, flattened, without tubercles or callosities (swollen lumps). The lateral margins of the declivity are strongly elevated, crenulate toward top, and completely enclose the declivity. This arrangement is distinctive from other U.S. Bostrichidae.


Figure 3. Lateral view of adult Xylopsocus capucinus (Fabricius), a false powder-post beetle.
Figure 3.  Lateral view of adult Xylopsocus capucinus (Fabricius), a false powder-post beetle.
Credit: Lyle J. Buss, UF/IFAS


The larva has been described and illustrated by Gardner (1933).


Beeson and Bhatia (1937) indicated that it was not common in India, but it emerged mainly between May and November without marked peaks of abundance. The life cycle there is apparently annual but may extend to two years, with stragglers in the third year. Additional biological data were given by Miller (1934), who stated that the life cycle is eight weeks when the larva feeds in Derris roots. He also recorded a reduviid bug (Peregrinator biannulipes Montr. & Sign.) as a predator on X. capucinus.

Most damage appears to be caused to lumber or to plants already damaged by lightning, cold, or other insect injury. Kalshoven (1963b) listed it from piles of teak poles where the sapwood layer became honeycombed throughout. Most references mention dry branches and stems being most often infested. Marin Acosta (1975) listed it in unhealthy avocado trees and in stems of grape where its presence was shown by little masses of gum (in rolled strips) in their openings.


According to Fisher (1950), Lesne (1924) recorded this species living in the wood of Morus alba L. and in trunks of "Kimoungoue" in east Africa, in bamboo, litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn.), and in grape (Vitis sp.) in Brazil. Miller (1934) recorded it attacking piquia (Caryocar villosum Pers.), rambutun (Nephelium lappaceum L.), rubber (Hevea brasiliensis (Willd. ex A. Juss) Muell. Arg.), Dipterocarpus sp., Derris sp., guava (Psidium guajava L.), Casuarina equisetifolia J.R. Forst. & G. Forst., Syzygium malaccensis (L.) Merrill & L.M. Perry, cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum Blume), Indigofera anil L., cashew nut (Anacardium occidentale L.), durian (Durio zibethinus J. Murr.), Tephrosia candida DC., Gardenia jasminoides Ellis, tamarind (Tamarindus indica L.), Hibiscus rosa-sinensis L., and mango (Mangifera indica L.).

Beeson and Bhatia (1937) reported it as also attacking Artocarpus hirsutus Lam., Ficus sp., Mallotus philippiensis Muell. Arg., Delonix elata (L.) Gamble, Santalum album L., Shorea robusta Gaertn.f., Sindora wallichii Benth., Swietenia mahagoni (L.) Jacq., Tectona grandis L.f., Terminalia myriocarpa Heurck & Muell. Arg., and Vitex negunto L. Guagliumi (1967) recorded it in avocado seed and stems and branches of cotopriz (Talisia oliviformis Radlk.).

The Florida host has only been cassava, in dry branches (presumably cold killed).


As presently known, the species does not appear to be a serious economic pest. Infested cassava branches were destroyed by burning.

For more information see Insect Management Guide for Powderpost Beetles (

Selected References

Anonymous. 1978. A bostrichid beetle (Xylopsocus capucinus (Fabricius)). Cooperative Plant Pest Report 3: 177.

Beeson, C.F.C., and B.M. Bhatia. 1937. On the biology of the Bostrychidae (Coleoptera). Indian Forest Record 2: 223–320.

Blackwelder, R.E. 1945. Checklist of the coleopterous insects of Mexico, Central America, the West Indies, and South America. U.S. Natural History Museum Bulletin 185, Part 3: 400.

d'Araujo e Silva, A.G., C.R. Gonçalves, D.M. Galvao, A.J.L. Gonçalves, J. Gomes, M. do N. Silva, and L. de Simoni. 1968. Quarto catalogo dos insectos que vivem nas plantas do Brasil seus parasites e predadores. Pt. 2. Vol. 1: xiv + 622 p.

Fabricius, J.C. 1781. Species insectorum. 1: 1–552; Kilonii (Apate capucinus p. 62).

Fisher, W.S. 1950. A revision of the North American species of beetles belonging to the family Bostrichidae. USDA Miscellaneous Publications 698: 1–157 (Xylopsocus capucinus p. 140–141).

Gardner, J.C.M. 1933. Immature stages of Indian Coleoptera (13) (Bostrychidae). Indian Forest Research, Entomology Service 18: 1–19.

Guagliumi, P. 1966 [1967]. Insetti e arachnidi delle piante comuni del Venezuela segnalati nel periodo 1938-1963. Relazioni e monographie agrarie subtropicale e tropicali (n.s.) 68: i- xix, 1–391.

Kalshoven, L.G.E. 1963a. Ecological data on some Neotropical Scolytidae, Platypodidae, and Bostrychidae (Coleoptera) mainly of Surinam. Beaufortia 9: 232–240.

Kalshoven, L.G.E. 1963b. Notes on the biology of Indonesian Bostrychidae (Coleoptera). Entomologische Berichten 23: 242–257.

Kingsolver, J.M. 1971. A key to the genera and species of Bostrichidae commonly intercepted in USDA plant quarantine inspections. Agricultural Quarantine Inspection Memo (USDA) 697: 1–11.

Lesne, P. 1900 [1901]. Revision des Coleopteres de la famille des Bostrychides. 4th Mem. Annales de la Societe Entomologique de France 69: 473–639.

Marin Acosta, J.C. 1975. Plagas de insectos en algunos frutales de importancia economica en Venezuela. Bol. Techn. (Publ. Fondo de Desarrollo Fruticola) 3: 1–73.

Miller, N.C.E. 1934. Coleopterous pests of stored Derris in Malaya. Department of Agriculture Straits Settlements Federated Malay States, Scientific Series 14: 1–34.

Spilman, T.J. 1971. Bredin-Archbold- Smithsonian biological survey of Dominica: Bostrichidae, Inopeplidae, Lagriidae, Lyctidae, Lymexylonidae, Melandryidae, Monommidae, Rhipiceridae, and Rhipiphoridae (Coleoptera). Smithsonian Contr. Zoology 70: 1–10.

Stebbing, E.P. 1914. Indian forest insects of economic importance. Coleoptera. London, Eyre & Spottiswoode, Ltd. 648 p.

Publication #EENY179

Release Date:September 17, 2021

Related Experts

Woodruff, Robert E


University of Florida

Spilman, T J


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About this Publication

This document is EENY179, one of a series of the Entomology and Nematology Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 2000. Revised December 2005. Reviewed December 2017. Visit the EDIS website at This document is also available on the Featured Creatures website at

About the Authors

R.E. Woodruff, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry; E.J. Gerberg, Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida; and T.J. Spilman, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry, Gainesville, FL.


  • Elena Rhodes